So remember how during the first half of the season we learned that Emma had a best friend growing up named Lily? Maybe not. If you tried to block out that horror that was the Frozen storyline, perhaps you forgot the introduction of one of the show’s few non-classic fairy tale characters. Besides Greg and Tamara from Season Three, almost everyone Emma has encountered has their roots in magical lands. And while Lily is Maleficent’s daughter, she is one of only a handful of characters whose literary origins you cannot trace.
Emma met Lily when the latter helped Emma pilfer some Pop Tarts from a grocery store. Emma finally felt that she found someone whom she could relate to. Another abandoned orphan. But Lily wasn’t like Emma. She had a foster family who loved and cared for her enough to find her when she ran away. So Lily was brought back home, Emma put back into the system, and their epic best friends forever story cut short.
Unfortunate Vagaries of Fate
Turns out Emma was right, Lily was like her. They both come from the Enchanted Forest and were sent to our realm when they were newborn babies. They grew up never feeling like they belonged and constantly got into trouble.
It was fate that brought them together and fate that continued to steer their lives. Through the episode’s multiple flashbacks we find out that after their initial separation, Emma was set on the path towards a happy ending and Lily lost hers. Emma was finally placed in a foster home she enjoyed, while Lily was kicked out of hers, dated a crappy boyfriend, and then participated in a convenience store robbery gone wrong. Because that’s how the rules work: Lily got all of Emma’s darkness put into her thanks to Daddy Prince and Momma Snow.
But it wouldn’t be Once without complicated and unclear rules. Emma’s life wasn’t great until she met Lily and it isn’t until after they are separated that their fortunes are reversed. When they meet up as teens again, Emma loses out on the good life but Lily’s life continues to spiral. Not sure how this makes sense and I wish I had a dime for every time I thought that while watching this show.
The show’s logic fails multiple times this episode. For instance, turns out adult Lily knows all about Storybrooke, its inhabitants, and how she ended up with the worst luck in the world. My money was on Gold’s interference yet again, such as when he was able to trick Belle by pretending to be a British professor via the internet. But that would be predictable. Instead, after her second fallout with Emma, Lily crossed paths with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Seems far fetched? That’s because it is! This episode centered around the impact of fate, how Emma only met Lily because of it, Regina adopted Henry of all little boys because he was the Savior’s daughter, but Lily meeting the Sorcerer’s Apprentice isn’t fate. It’s deus ex machina at its worse. The Apprentice even admits that he shouldn’t be doing this and, you know what, he’s right! I’m sure the show will come up with some flimsy reason for how he could show up to pass along this important information and then never again interfere with the affairs of our realm, but for now his appearance is just lazy writing.
This Means War
Okay, so Emma’s superpower is that she is a human lie detector… sort of. I mean that is her ability, but it goes on the fritz… like… a lot. She wasn’t able to figure out that Marian was actually Zelena and that witch just had to be lying left and right. Even in this episode, Emma is able to figure out that Lily is lying about living the good life. So I’m left wondering how Emma won’t see Lily’s inevitable betrayal once they return to Storybrooke.
Is it because of fate? Is Emma unable to use her superpower or her past experience with Lilith to figure this one out? I don’t know nor do I care because it looks like Lily inherited Mommie’s shapeshifting powers. That or the bright, yellow eyes Lily gets in the promo means werewolf which, again, no complaints here.
- I say that the Apprentice has had no impact on our realm since he met Lily, but that may not be true. Emma only finds Lily again because her car almost crashes into a wolf, just like when she first tried to leaves Storybrooke. Perhaps the Apprentice is said wolf? Perhaps the Sorcerer punished him for interfering in this land?
- Requisite Disney Flaunting They Now Own Star Wars Moment: Lily calling the Sorcerer’s Apprentice Yoda.